Three paths of Integrated Marketing Communications that one of my favorite brands, Chili’s, has is social media, public relations and paid advertising.
Chili’s, in my opinion, has a very successful social media presence. They are constantly receiving large amounts of consumer feedback on the brand’s Facebook and Twitter profiles. Their public relations is heavily utilized on the social media platforms by the account administrator apologizing to customer’s who received a less-than-satisfactory experience at a Chili’s restaurant, and gives them an address to email their concerns to. From personal experience, the response is rapid and they send out vouchers (mine came in the form of two $10 Chili’s gift cards) to the customer to attempt to make amends for the complaint. This is a fine use of public relations – making the unhappy, happy.
Chili’s also uses more traditional paid advertising in the form of online banner ads through Google AdSense. I am constantly seeing ads appear urging me to try one of Chili’s new menu items. The frequency in which I see these ads tremendously escalates in the hours and days following a visit to chilis.com.
If I had to add a 4th IMC to Chili’s portfolio, I would ad more large-scale promotions. The company currently offers smaller-scale promotions in the form of weekly coupons for items such as appetizers and desserts, but I would expand on that. It is clear that Chili’s as a solid social media following, good PR and worthy paid advertising, the only thing that would make it better is by partnering with a travel agency or concert ticket agency and offer customer’s a trip to an exotic locale or see a popular band or solo act perform. I have seen other companies do this and it seems to work. People love entering sweepstakes, even though the likelihood of a win is extremely will. Most of the time these sweepstakes appear in my Facebook timeline from friends of mine who have liked or shared the post. I have not once seen Chili’s appear on my news feed because of a customer writing a complaint on their timeline or by one of my friends receiving an email coupon. In short, adding a promotion such as a vacation or concert experience sweepstakes could build on the already solid integrated marketing communications that Chili’s employs.